Questions and Answers

[toggle title=”What is High Pressure Laminate (HPL)?”] High Pressure Laminate is a thermoset paper/plastic composite, where decorative
papers impregnated with melamine are consolidated over phenolic-impregnated
kraft papers at high temperature and pressure to form a homogeneous laminate. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”What is the difference between horizontal, vertical, and postforming
grades of HPL?”] Horizontal grade 10/HGS is thicker, .048″ (1.2mm), and not intended to be
postformed to a tight radius. Horizontal surfaces include countertops, vanity
tops, store fixtures, windowsills, desks, tabletops, convector covers, furniture
and casework. Vertical grade 20/VGP is thinner, .028″ (0.7mm), and does not have the impact
resistance of a horizontal grade. Vertical surfaces include wall panels, elevator
cabs, toilet compartments, etc. Postforming grade 12/HGP, .039″ (1.0mm), is designed for horizontal use with
tight inside and outside bends. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”What do the letters following the grade number mean?”] As a worldwide manufacturer, Formica Corporation utilizes the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) nomenclature.
Examples are:
Grade 10/HGS. . . . . . . . . . . Horizontal, General Purpose, Standard
Grade 12/HGP. . . . . . . . . . . Horizontal, General Purpose, Postformable
Grade 20/VGP. . . . . . . . . . . Vertical, General Purpose, Postformable
Grade 50/HGF. . . . . . . . . . . Horizontal, General Purpose, Fire-Rated
Grade 32/VGF. . . . . . . . . . . Vertical, General Purpose, Fire-Rated
Grade 72/CLS. . . . . . . . . . . . Cabinet Liner, Standard
Grade 91/BKL. . . . . . . . . . . Backer, Light Duty [/toggle]

[toggle title=”What causes expansion and contraction of laminates after
fabrication? How can this be prevented?”] High Pressure Laminate is a wood (paper) product and, like all wood products,
moves with changes in humidity. Laminates expand in high humidity and
contract in low humidity. Laminate and core should be conditioned at 45% to
50% relative humidity at least 48 hours prior to laminating. Pick a substrate that
moves at the same dimensional change rate as HPL, such as Medium Density
Fiberboard (MDF) or 45# industrial grade particleboard. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”What causes laminated panels to warp?”] Panel warpage is caused by a difference in movement between the laminate
and the substrate. To minimize warpage, acclimate the laminate and core prior
to bonding. Panels that require flatness should be balanced by bonding the
same grade of laminate to both sides. Refer to the Technical Brief Avoiding
Warpage of Laminate-Clad Panels (Form No. 01-075) for additional information. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”What adhesives should be used to bond laminates?”] Formica® brand contact adhesives are available in brush, spray, flammable,
and non-flammable formulations. Resorcinols, ureas, and PVAc (white glue)
type adhesives yield stronger bonds. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”What causes stress cracking? How can it be eliminated?”] Excessive dimensional movement of the laminate can cause stress, especially
on inside corners, which is relieved by the cracking. To eliminate cracking:
acclimate the laminate and core, minimize cross-directional dimensions, use
the thickest laminate possible for the application, use the strongest adhesive
possible for the application, and rout inside corners (1/8″ (3.18mm) minimum). [/toggle]

[toggle title=”Can surface scratches be repaired?”] No. Melamine is one of the hardest plastics known, but it can be scratched.
Like glass, melamine scratches white, so scratches are more apparent on dark
solid colors. Because the finish is pressed into the laminate, it is impossible
to repair. Superficial scratches can be hidden with the use of furniture polish. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”Do laminates fade?”] Laminates will fade if exposed to direct sunlight. Bright chromatics fade more
easily than earthtones. All Formica brand laminate colors surpass industry
fade requirements. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”Can you resurface laminate over laminate?”] Yes, self-edge or flat surfaces can be resurfaced. Follow the recommended
procedures in the Technical Brief Resurfacing Laminated Assemblies with
Formica® Brand Products (Form No. 02-122).

[toggle title=”Can HPL be used for exterior applications?”] No [/toggle]

[toggle title=”Can laminates be painted?”] Yes. However, the laminate surface has trace amounts of a release agent which
prevents paint adhesion. Lightly sanding the surface removes this agent and
provides tooth for the paint. Epoxy paint adheres the best. Painted surfaces
do not have the durability of laminate. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”How should laminate be cleaned?”] There is a thin layer of melamine resin on the surface of HPL, which is very
hard and stain resistant, but there are many modern household reagents that will
attack it. Do not use acids, alkalis, bleaches, or abrasive cleaners on laminate.
Surfaces should be cleaned with a clean, soft cotton cloth and mild detergent
such as Fantastik®, Formula 409® or Pine-Sol®.. [/toggle]

[toggle title=”Do’s and Don’ts for Protecting the Surface”]
• Use a cutting board, chopping block or other protective surface for
chopping, slicing, pounding or hammering on any laminate surface
• Use placemats or doilies under abrasive or ceramics items
• Use insulated hot pads, trivets or other protective devices under all hot
cookware including utensils like electric skillets and waffle irons
Don’t …………
• Use knives or other sharp utensils that may slice or scratch the surface
• Hammer or tenderize meat on laminate surfaces
• Slide ceramic or abrasive items across laminate surfaces
• Place hot objects directly on laminate surfaces
• Place items like curling irons or hot rollers directly on laminate surfaces
• Iron or place a hot iron on laminate surfaces
• Place lighted cigarettes directly on laminate surfaces [/toggle]